30 Oct 2014

Adams to consider sex abuse court

6:51 pm on 30 October 2014

New Justice Minister Amy Adams has reopened the idea of a special court for sexual abuse cases.

Amy Adams.

Amy Adams. Photo: RNZ

The Law Commission was previously asked to consider the idea but Ms Adams' predecessor, Judith Collins, halted the review in 2012.

Ms Adams today said she had asked for a briefing next week from her officials about any progress since then.

She would not comment on specific proposals but said she was keen to ensure a balance between treating victims with respect and defendants with fairness.

The police yesterday announced they would not be laying charges in relation to the west Auckland group of 17 and 18-year-old youths who called themselves "Roastbusters" and boasted online about getting girls drunk and having sex with them.

The police have been investigating the group for a year and have specifically looked at eight incidents involving seven victims and five suspects, although 30 young men were investigated.

During the investigation, 110 girls were spoken to, with five giving formal statements. However, a further 25 refused to give statements as they did not want to engage with police for fear of bullying and harassment by their peers, as well as the fear of being exposed in the media.

"I don't think there is any simple solution that will make it an easy process for victims but we're always looking at ways that it can be made easier," Ms Adams said.

"But we have to be mindful of ensuring that the trial is still fair and any conviction is reliable."

"I think we have to be very careful in a couple of respects. First of all ... a specialist court is by no means a silver bullet for victims in terms of this being a difficult and traumatic process."

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